Sunday, July 01, 2007

Adam gets trapped by DEAD HEIST

Occasionally trouble just finds you.
Say, for instance, being linked to the entirety of Swirl Films upcoming release Dead Heist, written by Anghus Houvouras (Fearsome, 20 Funerals) and directed by Bo Webb (The Idea Guy. That shouldn't be too much trouble, right?
The film's as low-budget as low budget gets, yet still manages to get off an interesting shot or two. Sure, it's highly derivative, but it's also wackily original, too. A melange of dozens of familiar bank heist/vampire/zombie/shoot-em-up movies, the plot of Dead Heist isn't really all that serious about anything other than a body count.
Jackson (DJ Naylor) is a small-time thug and bodyguard who gets mixed up in a scheme with a bunch of low-rent gangsta never-will-be's to rob a bank in a small town.
Doing some preliminary scouting, Jackson meets this weird guy at the local surplus store who spews some weird shit about vampires and zombies. The weird dude is played by Big Daddy Kane, so you KNOW he's gonna end up 1) being right about the zompires (I'm copyrighting that term. I own it. Nobody else can use it.) and 2) kicking a whole lotta ass.
The wannabes are led by Ski (Brandon Hardin, who also was the extras casting director...ain't low budget films great like that?), a guy tougher than he's skinny. And he's one skinny emeffer. Ski gets the bright idea to take the bank a day early, when Jackson's scouting the town and casing the bank. They even manage to score two of the local deputies as hostages, including pretty Deputy Becky (Michelle Mims).
Things go wrong (Do any bank heists EVER go right???), the local po-po shows up and after night falls, so do the living dead. And then things just get messy.

The final verdict? Well, it's not a good film, but I don't think it was trying to be. It's fun, though, and that'll do most nights in front of the Tee-Vee. There's a lot to like in Dead Heist. It never takes itself seriously, but it's also not tonge-in-cheek or smarmily self-aware. This means the film can be violent as hell and even slightly scary while tossing in the occasional one-liner or sight gag.
The filmmaking shows a bit of promise. There are some neat shots, and a cool-as-hell sequence when the bank is finally stormed by a veritable army of the undead (which echoes a scene in this summer's 28 Weeks Later). The acting isn't necessarily award caliber, but that's not what you're looking for when you check out a low-budget flick most of the time, anyway. You're looking for blood, violence and a body count that you have to take your shoes off to tally up. Dead Heist has all that and a can of Krunk energy drink. No, really. There's Krunk Energy Drink in it. Who knew?
I'm sure when they pitched it, the filmmakers threw out names like From Dusk Til' Dawn and Dead Presidents. Not bad films to aspire to be, but Dead Heist doesn't quite have the budget or the talent to line up in the same ranks. Nothing wrong with that, though. Really. Josh Becker's Running Time is another deliciously low-budget affair that I had oodles of fun with on DVD. If you come with the intention of having a good time with this film, there's plenty to be had.

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